AMMAN –– Jordan and the European Union (EU) on Thursday called on Arab Mediterranean countries to join Agadir free trade agreement between the Kingdom, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco.
Jordan encourages other Arab countries on the Mediterranean to join the Agadir Agreement as it would boost economic integration between Arab states, said Industry, Trade and Supply Secretary General Maha Ali.
She made the remarks at a press conference to announce the third phase of financial support offered by the EU to the Agadir Technical Unit (ATU).
EU Ambassador to Jordan Joanna Wronecka said the agreement, established in 2004 and named after the Moroccan city of Agadir, aims at boosting trade between southern Mediterranean countries, which would also facilitate trade with the European countries.
She added that the accord would cover a market of 120 million people, noting that the gross domestic product of member countries is estimated at 150 billion euros.
Since the agreement went into effect in 2006, the EU has been supervising its implementation due to belief it would accelerate economic development of the region, Wronecka continued.
The EU ambassador indicated that trade between state members of Agadir Agreement went up by 51 per cent between 2006 and 2009, noting that regional instability and the global financial crisis curbed the uptrend in commercial exchange.
She pointed out that the financial support by the EU for the agreement’s technical unit is estimated at 12 million euros.
ATU Executive President El Aid Mahsoussi said the agreement seeks to liberalise trade between member countries and to promote investments between each other in addition to boosting economic ties with European countries on the northern part of the Mediterranean.
He added that the unit is working to achieve a protocol for rules of origin in compliance with European standards, an issue he said would facilitate commerce between Euro-Mediterranean countries.
Mahsoussi continued that the ATU seeks to expand trade liberalisation in the services sector between member states, achieve more coordination between customs departments and establish a mechanism for intellectual property in the industrial sector among other objectives related to certificates of origin and international trade.
Mahsoussi said the Agadir Agreement is open to further membership by all Arab countries that are members of the Arab League and the Greater Arab Free Trade Area, and linked to the EU through an Association Agreement or an FTA.
The agreement’s purpose is to facilitate integration between Arab states and the EU under the broader EU-Mediterranean process.
In November 2008, the members of the Agadir Agreement signed a protocol on trade in textiles.